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Exxon Attempts to Evade Responsibility for Exposing Texas Community to Harmful Pollution

Fifth Circuit to Determine How Community Groups Can Seek Civil Penalties for Unlawful Emissions 


Today, the full Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in Environment Texas Citizen Lobby v. ExxonMobil Corp., a case that community groups brought to stop Exxon’s extraordinary, repeated violations of the Clean Air Act at its Baytown, TX petrochemical facility in their neighborhood. Exxon admits that it violated the Clean Air Act thousands of times and accepts that the government can enforce the Clean Air Act. But in this case, Exxon seeks to undermine the community’s ability to seek civil penalties, as specifically permitted under a provision of the Clean Air Act, to stop unlawful industrial pollution that is harming their health, homes, and community.

The following is a statement from Kirti Datla, Director of Strategic Legal Advocacy at Earthjustice:

“This case is about the residents of Baytown, who live in the shadows of one of the largest refining and petrochemical complexes in the world and are being harmed by Exxon’s ongoing, repeated violations of restrictions on emissions of harmful air pollutants. Congress expressly authorized people in their position to sue in the Clean Air Act, writing in a provision that allows members of the public who are being harmed to sue to stop violations and, by doing so, stop the harm. The Fifth Circuit should reject Exxon’s efforts to twist the law in novel and dangerous ways to disempower these residents.”

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